Scope Contols - Connect to POTH sometimes not completing, or position updates stop

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BobHehmann
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2021 11:17 pm
Location: Moorpark, California, USA

Scope Contols - Connect to POTH sometimes not completing, or position updates stop

#1

Post by BobHehmann »

This may be two distinct issues, or different manifestations of a single problem. I'm running current SharpCap 4.0.8949 (though I've seen this issue with many earlier releases), ASCOM 6.5.1, and POTH 6.0.0.3. Currently patched Win10 Pro. Due to some testing I'm doing that explicitly requires POTH, I don't know if this same event occurs with the present-day ASCOM Device Hub. I have seen this behavior with multiple releases of various components.

POTH is independently started, successfully connected to the mount, unparked, and not tracking. PHD2 is running, and successfully connected to its guide camera and to POTH. I start SharpCap, and click its "Scope Controls - Connected" button. Usually, the connection will be made, the position fields (Az/Alt et al) correctly populated, and the virtual-handset controls enabled. But sometimes, the fields remain blank, and the controls disabled. The "Connected" checkbox will remain checked. Once this occurs, successive attempts are likely to continue to fail, but not always. Repeatedly unchecking and checking "Connected" may eventually result in a connection, but often stopping and restarting SharpCap seems the more reliable work-around.

The second, possibly related, issue is that once connected, the position data fields may just stop updating. POTH will continue to display correct values, but the SC fields remain frozen in time, including Hour-Angle. Disconnecting and reconnecting to POTH may or may not result in the fields being repopulated with current data. The SC scope controls remain functional - for example, a plate-solve/synch will still work. Initiating an imaging sequence almost always gets them updating, and tends to keep them mostly current, though I have seen them freeze even then. But sitting in passive Live View is very likely to cause the updates to stop, sometimes within seconds. But not always!

Any thoughts?
Cheers, Bob
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Re: Scope Contols - Connect to POTH sometimes not completing, or position updates stop

#2

Post by admin »

Hi Bob,

the answer will almost certainly be in the SharpCap log. SharpCap tries to deal with ASCOM drivers doing unexpected things, so, for instance, if the updating of the co-ordinates starts getting an error response from the ASCOM driver, SharpCap will stop trying to update the co-ordinates (rather than come to a complete halt) - this will be recorded in the log.

Similarly, there are some ASCOM drivers that fail to correctly report connection failures - in other words they just ignore SharpCap setting the driver status to connected, and still report a disconnected state. This *could* be the cause of the failures to enable the controls after a connection attempt. Once again, details will be in the log.

Please feel free to post the log contents here for me to assist with the interpretation, At this stage, there is no need to turn on additionally logging of ASCOM mount communications, but we might need to do that later.

cheers,

Robin
BobHehmann
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2021 11:17 pm
Location: Moorpark, California, USA

Re: Scope Contols - Connect to POTH sometimes not completing, or position updates stop

#3

Post by BobHehmann »

Excellent, thanks. I'll review last-night's log file, see if I can narrow it down. I had such an update freeze about 20 minutes in to an hour-long run last night. I'll narrow it down to something manageable.

Cheers, Bob
Cheers, Bob
BobHehmann
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2021 11:17 pm
Location: Moorpark, California, USA

Re: Scope Contols - Connect to POTH sometimes not completing, or position updates stop

#4

Post by BobHehmann »

Greetings Dr. Glover. (FYI, this is my second attempt at entering this reply, which also happened earlier - I'd log in, type my reply, submit, and get bounced to the forum login screen again, original reply post lost. I'm taking to keeping a transient copy of text I type so I can paste it back if/when lost.)

I've attached a shortened log from last night's run, where I experienced the problem of SC scope position updates ceasing unexpectedly. The original was too long to attach, so I eliminated all the "wait for the sky to get dark enough to polar align" and similar setup tasks, and a second post-flip imaging run that was well after the issue materialized, and I had corrected for it.

I see where SC sets up the monitor task to watch the mount, but didn't find anything suspicious below that in this log.

Unfortunately, I only noticed the freeze well after it happened. I compared the frozen Az value in SC with the still-updating info in POTH, and estimate that the last good update was from around 21:20. As this freeze happens in my config with regularity, tomorrow I'll attempt to create a minimalist test case.

If this points to something obvious to you, great. But please don't spend too much time on this - and if I can help with any of the leg-work, let me know, I'd be pleased to do so.

Latest SC and PHD2 versions; ASCOM 6.6 with POTH 6.0.0.3; Win10 Pro with the latest public release and patches. Only PHD2 and SC where communicating with PHD2 at this time. ASI071MC Pro camera.
Attachments
Log_2022-05-16T19_34_05-3332 (Mount Updates Stopped).log
(695.53 KiB) Downloaded 8 times
Cheers, Bob
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Re: Scope Contols - Connect to POTH sometimes not completing, or position updates stop

#5

Post by admin »

Hi Bob,

just checked your log and there is nothing that points the finger at any specific problem. I also checked the code and realised that certain types of problem with the mount update would not create a warning/error in the log (unless you turn on additional ASCOM mount logging). I will correct that omission in the next SharpCap update, which should help track down this sort of problem.

cheers,

Robin
BobHehmann
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2021 11:17 pm
Location: Moorpark, California, USA

Re: Scope Contols - Connect to POTH sometimes not completing, or position updates stop

#6

Post by BobHehmann »

Thanks kindly! I'm also collecting detailed ASCOM logs from my driver, as I am part of the beta-test team for a new release of their software, including their ASCOM driver. I've got a pretty good relationship with the developer, so if something looks amiss on that side, I might be able to get it some attention.

Being a retired Fortune-100 CTO, I can positively state that I've never in my professional career had an instance where two different vendor's products had a discombobulation at their interface **Cough, Cough**!

Not a big deal, but if we can make another of the myriad of complex components in this hobby work together more smoothly and reliably, we'll have increased the total goodness in the world, I hope.

Cheers, Bob

PS - had this b-board once again place me at the login screen when I hit "Submit" to post this reply. I had positively logged in using my credentials (top corner showed my user-name), exited the topic, re-entered it fresh, clicked post-a-reply, typed all this, "Submit", and it was all tossed and I was logged out. Seems consistent this last week or so.
Cheers, Bob
iamhondo
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Re: Scope Contols - Connect to POTH sometimes not completing, or position updates stop

#7

Post by iamhondo »

Bob,

If you're eager for the best ASCOM behavior, you're best off to ditch the ancient, effectively derelict POTH for the newer Device Hub tool. The Device Hub is supplied with ASCOM 6.6.

Also, if the objective is multiple, simultaneous PC-to-mount connections, encourage the driver writers to build a driver like the Gemini and Celestron drivers: Built-in multiple connections and no hub needed for typical use.

JMHO, Joe
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Re: Scope Contols - Connect to POTH sometimes not completing, or position updates stop

#8

Post by admin »

Hi Bob,

on the subject of the logouts, this is something I haven't had any other reports of. Normally I stay logged in for weeks at a time, making hundreds of posts without an issue. I'd suggest trying an alternative browser to see if you have the same issue.

cheers,

Robin
BobHehmann
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2021 11:17 pm
Location: Moorpark, California, USA

Re: Scope Contols - Connect to POTH sometimes not completing, or position updates stop

#9

Post by BobHehmann »

Re: Browsers - I'll give it a shot. My default is up-to-date FireFox, I'll give another one a try...
Re: Dev-Hub - I'm quite familiar with Dev-Hub, it was my normal hub. This particular mount recommends POTH at this time. I've done some beta-testing on their behalf of both firmware and ASCOM driver, and found that both hubs have their own non-overlapping set of issues. As to a multi-threaded driver, that may be in the future, but not really under a customer's control. And the hubs are supposed to, in part, relieve the necessity of requiring that logic in the driver - so a vendor may not find the effort to be worth the return. I will be doing similar testing this week with Dev-Hub, I just happened into the problem first in POTH. If its in the driver (and it may well be), Dev-Hub probably would expose the same behavior.

Dr. Glover, I just grabbed the latest version of SC, when the skies clear, I'll take it for a spin, and see if the logs provide any insight. If they do, and it points at a problem on the ASCOM driver side, I'll get that info into the mount vendor's hands.

Cheers, Bob
Cheers, Bob
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